Mario Party 4
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Mario Party 4 is the fourth game in the Mario Party series and the first for the Nintendo GameCube. Developed by Hudson Soft and published by Nintendo, the game was initially released first in North America in October 21, 2002. It retains the basic gameplay aspects from previous Mario Party titles, where up to four players roll dice to move around a board, earning coins from landing on Spaces, events, or winning minigames played at the end of every turn to buy stars. Features introduced in previous Mario Party games such as the introduction of the usage of items from Mario Party 2 to assist players against their opponents and the ability to carry up to three items from Mario Party 3 return. New elements introduced in Mario Party 4 include the ability for players to team up in pairs in Party Mode, creating a custom minigame pack selected entirely by players of the game, and the first Mario Party game to introduce side-collectibles in the form of presents. The game is notable for introducing boards fully rendered in 3D, though the navigational board space layout remains flat until Mario Party 5. Additionnaly, the game completes a revamp in the 3D art direction of the Mario franchise that started with Luigi's Mansion and continued with Super Mario Sunshine.
Mario and company are enjoying the outdoors when a mysterious cloud forms in the distance. As the cloud moves closer, a giant bag appears to be floating in the sky. The bag opens up to reveal Toad, Koopa, Goomba, Shy Guy, and Boo, who invite Mario and the gang to party in the Party Cube.
It's the player character's birthday and each host wants to give a present, but the character must play in each host's board and win a special minigame to get the present. The player character manages to get every single present from each host, but Bowser shows up and threatens to steal every present the player has, unless the player agrees to go to Bowser's board and win, and the player accepts Bowser's challenge.
The player manages to win and Koopa Kid congratulates the player for winning, but Bowser tricks the player into believing that he took all of the player's presents and the two fight in a final battle. The player manages to beat Bowser and he runs away and leaves one present behind. Koopa Kid explains that Bowser never took the player's presents.
Toad then appears and said that there is still someone who didn't give their gift to the player. The lights suddenly turn off, cuing a spotlight, then Toad points to the sky and a Star is seen, zipping across the sky revealing a constellation of the character's winning pose.
The epilogue shows the five hosts without their costumes, following after the moving Party Cube. After a few seconds, the Party Cube blasts off into space, never to be seen again.
Mario Party 4 has a total of eight playable characters, with all playable characters returning from Mario Party 3. All of these playable characters are usable from the beginning and are usable throughout all modes. While Mario Party 4 does not introduce any new playable characters, a minigame, Beach Volley Folley, found in the Extra Mode, features additional playable characters exclusive to that minigame. They are unlocked by playing through Battle Mode, and once Battle Mode is unlocked, those additional playable characters are usable only in Free Mode.
Beach Volley Folley exclusive
One Player (Whomp's Basement Brouhaha)
Multiplayer (Thwomp's Backroom Ball)
Thwomp's Backroom Ball is like the rest of the game modes except it doesn't feature minigames, therefore the player has to stay on the game board for the entire time.
Also featured is a bonus volleyball game, hosted by a Ztar. Finally, players are able to access the Present Room, which allows them to view all the presents that the player has accumulated throughout the Story Mode for each character.
Mario Party 4 received mostly mixed to positive reviews from critics. GameSpot's Ryan Davis praised the game's mini-game format, but noted that "players that who already exhausted themselves on previous Mario Party titles may not have enough here to draw them back again". Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell acknowledged the variety and thematic features of the boards, but thought they were too large, resulting in a "glacial pace" when coupled with the on-board animations. Despite this, IGN praised the boards for their thematic features on each one, which helped "ease the tediousness". New gameplay features such as the mushroom system received a negative review from multiple critics, with frustration being expressed at not being able to enter shops or purchase stars with big characters. The game's multiplayer was praised by reviews, especially in comparison to the single player mode, "Story Mode". The minigames were mainly met with a positive reaction, with critics praising their simplicity.
Mario Party 4 is the 10th best selling game for Nintendo GameCube, with approximately 2.45 million copies sold worldwide: 1.1 million copies in North America, 902,827 copies in Japan, and 450,000 copies elsewhere, as of December 31, 2009.
References to previous games
References in later games
Pre-release and unused content
The game contains files that are named E3Setup.bin, E3SetupDLL.rel and E3SetupDLL.str. When modesel.bin in the data folder and modeseldll.rel + modeseldell.str in the dll folder are replaced by the former files, a pre-release character select screen, for E3 purposes, is shown. Donkey Kong and Wario cannot be selected because at this point, their models had not yet been constructed.
A debug menu was found in the game's data, and includes all the minigames.